Cleopatra Rey – interview

"It’s nice to have the opportunity to represent such a beautiful culture, which has such depth and substance to it and deals in righteousness".

Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical
Interview by: Sophia A Jackson | @SODEA_
Published: Sunday, 08 January 2023, 12:01pm

Cleopatra Rey
Cleopatra Rey – Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical

Sophia A Jackson: You’re taking over from Gabrielle Brookes. How do you channel your inner Rita Marley – she’s an icon within herself.
Cleopatra Rey:  I’d say for me there are some similarities in regards to her being a mum; and also a working mum and a woman who’s ambitious, who’s striving to do music, fall in love – as we all have done. There were so many elements of her as a woman that I connect with so it’s those kinds of things that allow me to channel her. Obviously, I can’t fully emulate her but there are a lot of similarities in some respects.

Sophia A Jackson: Did you have any apprehension about taking on such a huge role?
Cleopatra Rey:  No, not at all. I was super excited initially when I knew they were doing this show. I did the workshop years ago and was ecstatic about playing her then and ready to take on the challenge. So now I’ve come full circle and am excited to be getting the opportunity to step up.

Sophia A Jackson: So, what originally attracted you to being part of this production?
Cleopatra Rey The message, the roots, the culture – especially being from Jamaican heritage. Jamaica is very influential and is a very proud culture. For me to be able to represent part of myself is a very big deal. Being part of Bob Marley’s culture and being able to tell his story is huge. I’m a fan of his and I think he is still relevant today. For me, being offered the opportunity to be in the show is definitely a win.

Cleopatra Rey
Cleopatra Rey Get Up, Stand Up (c) Craig Sugden

Sophia A Jackson: Bob Marley is loved by millions of fans around the world. How do you manage the pressure of honouring a global icon and staying true to his legacy?
Cleopatra Rey:  When you’re on stage, make sure you’re doing the work. When we’re looking at the script and telling the story of this icon and legend, we’re also looking at the man – the human part of him. I think there’s a way to make sure you’re being honest when you’re tackling his story.

Sophia A Jackson: What are your personal experiences of Bob Marley and what influence did he have in your life growing up
Cleopatra Rey:  I listened to his music. His posters were on the wall. My dad was also a Rasta, as well. When you grow up in and around the culture of Rastas, it becomes a part of you because you learn about its significance and its philosophy. So, it’s nice to have the opportunity to represent such a beautiful culture, which has such depth and substance to it and deals in righteousness.

Sophia A Jackson: You have a strong background in musical theatre. What is it about that genre that is a draw for you?
Cleopatra Rey:  I love being able to act whilst telling a story and the fact that you get to sing whilst is a great way to be able to tell a story. It’s very different from being on stage and singing at a concert or a gig. I really like that you can bring all three of the art forms including dance as well to convey the message of what that scene is about and it has to be conveyed through your expression, and your voice. I think that’s why I like musical theatre because it gives you the opportunity to do all three together.

NEED TO KNOW: Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical is at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue until 8 Jan 2023 | Read our original cast and creative interviews which were featured in the official programme | Read our 4 star review | Read interview with David Albury